Detailed steps on how to set up Youtube Strict Restricted mode on your school’s network using DNS

By William Dembi

  1. As the replacement for Youtube for Schools, Youtube Strict Restricted mode blocks potentially objectionable content and advertisements your students may not want to see. Google provides steps on how to do that here, but those instructions are only viewable with G Suite administrator privileges and are partially incorrect. This blog post will give step by step instructions on how to set up Youtube Strict Restricted leveraging DNS for a Microsoft Domain Controller.
  2. RDP into your Microsoft Domain Controller that handles internal DNS. If your domain controller doesn’t handle internal DNS, you can click here for a guide on how to set it up.
  3. Once connected, open up DNS Manager. Please note that for the following examples any sensitive information will be hidden by black boxes. You should see a screen that looks similar to this:
  4. You’ll want to repeat steps 5-10 for each of the following Youtube Zones:
  5. Right click on any white space and select the option for New Zone. The New Zone Wizard will pop up. Click Next. 
  6. Leave the default options and click Next. 
  7. Leave the default options and click Next. 
  8. Input the Zone mentioned in step 4 of this guide and click Next. was used for the following screenshot. 
  9. Ensure Do not allow dynamic updates is selected and then click Next.
  10. Click Finish.
  11. Ensure steps 5-10 are completed for each Zone mentioned in step 4. Your DNS Manager should look like this. 
  12. For each zone listed in step 4 create an A record pointing the parent domain of the zone to the IP address Alternatively for less strict filtering, the IP address can be used. A records can be created by selecting the zone on the left hand side and selecting New Host(A or AAAA).
  13. After entering the A record for every zone your internal DNS will force Youtube Strict Restricted Mode. Questionable videos, searches, and advertisements will be blocked on Youtube.

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions please email or tweet @TheDembiDude.

Digital Portals: The Revolution of Education Single Sign-on

Orofino Jr-Sr High School Digital Portal powered by Idaho Digital Learning
Orofino Jr-Sr High School Digital Portal powered by Idaho Digital Learning

By: Valerie Doherty

In a world that is increasingly digital, passwords protect our valuable information and personal identity online. Every site from banking to social media requires a password for secure access. The problem is, each site has different criteria for an acceptable password. For example, most require both letters and numbers, are case sensitive and must have a certain amount of digits and/or numbers. Technology experts advise that you should never use the same password on multiple sites. With the growing number of accounts we each have, who can remember them all?

As educational resources have begun to migrate into the digital format, students taking online classes are presented with this challenge daily. Not only do they have district assigned accounts, they have classes to access which have numerous resources that may require password protection. These added steps may become barriers that inhibit a student’s ability to learn efficiently and effectively.

Feeling the need to remove this obstacle, Idaho Digital Learning has created digital learning portals. The custom school portals offer students the opportunity to access their online courses, resources, and more in a single easy-to-use location while allowing schools local control over their student’s online experience. Portals can also act as a communication tool, providing links to school internet acceptable use policies and tools that promote digital citizenship.

Initially designed for districts and schools, the portal vision has since grown into other educational opportunities throughout Idaho. For example, Idaho Digital Learning has partnered with the Idaho State Department of Education to create the Educational Resource Library (ERL) which will provide professional development opportunities and resources to all Idaho teachers through the single sign-on portal environment.

Educational Resource Library (ERL)

Due to the success of these portals, Idaho Digital Learning envisions the Parent Resource Center. A portal that provides one location where parents can access resources (learning tools, information, materials, and a vibrant community) available for them to support their child(ren) as they begin along their educational path and continue toward college and career opportunities.

What started out as a solution for multiple  passwords has grown into an awesome tool that provides efficiency thus making everybody’s lives simpler.

Clearing Browser Cache

By: Valora Hodges

What does clearing my browser history actually do and why does Idaho Digital Learning technical support always ask me to clear it when I’m having issues with things loading in my class?

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 2.57.14 PMWeb browsers like Firefox and Chrome have a special storage folder on your computer called a cache.  In the cache folder the browser will store web items (sometimes called cookies) that it thinks you will need again when hopping from page to page.  This is done to help speed up future loading time for a given webpage and allows the website to run effectively giving the user (you) a pleasant online experience.  Yet sometimes this system that is designed for efficiency is what is causing the webpage to only load partially or not load at all.

The reason why “cached” items cause loading nightmares is because websites are constantly updating to newer and better versions of themselves.  The browser(s) on your computer might have items stored in the cache folder that are outdated and so when a newer version of that website is trying to load, the old outdated files and cookies cause errors.

Different browsers have different ways for clearing cache and cookies yet the process is usually quick and easy.  With a few clicks and a refresh, you can be back to your online work in no time. Below are a few links from Idaho Digital Learning recommended browsers that walk you through how to clear your browser history.

Clear Chrome Cache                         Clear Firefox Cache